NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a simple, cost-effective optical method for thin film stress measurements during growth and/or subsequent annealing processes. Stress arising in thin film fabrication presents production challenges for electronic devices, sensors, and optical coatings; it can lead to substrate distortion and deformation, impacting the performance of thin film products. NASA's technique measures in-situ stress using a simple, noncontact fiber optic probe in the thin film vacuum deposition chamber. This enables real-time monitoring of stress during the fabrication process and allows for efficient control of deposition process parameters. By modifying process parameters in real time during fabrication, thin film stress can be optimized or controlled, improving thin film product performance.